Swimming Pool Heaters & Heat Pumps - Enjoy An Extended Swimming Season

by Pool Builders on 03-15-2009 in Articles

By heating your swimming pool, you can extend your swimming season and enjoy more hours of fun and exercise in your private aquatic oasis. These days, there are a variety of different pool heating options available that are more effective and efficient than ever before. Two of the most common types of pool heating options available today are pool heaters and pool heat pumps. While both of these options have the same function, they go about heating swimming pools in different ways. Pool heaters and pool heat pumps also come with different features and different pros and cons. As a result, the type of heating system that is best for you will depend on a variety of factors.

Pool heaters are the type of heating system found in most privately owned swimming pools. These heaters have been around for many years and are typically powered by natural gas or propane fuel. As such, these gas heaters require either a hook-up to a natural gas line or a storage tank for storing propane gas. In order to heat pool water, gas pool heaters burn the fuel in a combustion chamber and the heat is then transmitted into the pool water, raising its temperature.

Swimming pool heat pumps, on the other hand, heat water in a different way. The actual pump unit is electrically powered and extracts heat from the air, which has been warmed by the sun, and upgrades it with a compressor before transferring it into the pool water. Pool heat pumps will function even when the sun isn't actually shining as long as the temperature of the surrounding air is at least 45 degrees Fahrenheit.

Pool heaters provide the fastest method of heating swimming pools and are generally best for heating pools for short periods of time. For example, if you only use your pool on weekends or often find yourself needing to heat your pool quickly before guests or visitors arrive, a gas pool heater will provide you with the fast and effective performance that you need. Gas pool heaters are also a great option for pool owners who like to swim regardless of the state of the weather, as they can easily and effectively maintain any water temperature.

As for pool heat pumps, this type of heating system is also effective regardless of the weather. However, as already mentioned, this only remains true as long as the air temperature is above 45 degrees Fahrenheit. Heat pumps can easily maintain water temperatures in the range of 80 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit and are ideal for homeowners who would like to make use of hot air energy but are unable to make use of solar heaters due to the structure of their roof or other factors. Pool heat pumps are the preferred heating option among athletic trainers and those who use pools for therapy.

Aside from how they work and their performance, pool heat pumps and pool heaters also differ in terms of cost. One of the downsides of gas heaters is the fact that they are expensive to operate. This is partly due to the cost of fuel and partly as a result of the relatively low efficiency of these heaters, which is typically in the range of 60 to 80 per cent. The average swimming pool heated with a propane heater will typically cost somewhere between $1000 and $1500 to heat each year while natural gas heaters cost approximately half as much to operate.

Heat pumps, however, are exceptionally efficient and have a very low cost of operation. Since these heating systems require so little electricity to work, their efficiency generally falls somewhere in the range of 300 to 600 per cent. As a result, a typical swimming pool will generally only cost $250 to $500 to heat each year. While pool heat pumps come with a higher purchase price than gas pool heaters, they quickly pay for themselves due to their impressively low cost of operation.

Other factors to consider when choosing between gas pool heaters or pool heat pumps are longevity and maintenance requirements. Gas heaters typically last for five years or more and warranties on parts will generally be in the range of one to five years. Due to the high temperatures inside the gas heating unit, these heaters require regular maintenance. Also, repairs for such heaters can be quite costly. Pool heat pumps also require periodic maintenance as they consist of many electrical parts and moving components. Heat pumps will generally lasts for at least five to 10 years and warranties typically fall in the range of one to 10 years.

As both types of heating systems come with their own benefits and drawbacks, the option that will be best for you will be a personal decision that depends on all of the above factors. No matter which type of system you ultimately choose, however, a high quality heating unit will always provide you with effective swimming pool heating and an extended swimming season.

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